Artist of the Week: Janelle Monae

The 'Tightrope' hitmaker is readying her latest studio installment 'The Electric Lady', three years after the critically-acclaimed 'The ArchAndroid'.
Janelle Monae is an artist to watch who consistently made critically-acclaimed songs for her records. After the Grammy-nominated "Metropolis: The Chase Suite" in 2007 and "The ArchAndroid" in 2010, she's back this year ready to win critics' heart again with her new R&B/soul work "The Electric Lady".

In the latest album due in the United States on September 10, the "Tightrope" hitmaker didn't collaborate with just any artist. The singer/songwriter hooks up some of the best performers in the business such as Prince, Erykah Badu, Solange Knowles, Miguel and Esperanza Spalding.

"With this particular album, I wanted to go through R&B music that ranges from people like Bo Diddley to Jimi Hendrix to classical music," she once explained of what her vision was for the CD. "That's what I love doing, is playing with all these different styles of music and creating something that just has not been heard."

The lead single "Q.U.E.E.N" which features Badu is climbing to the top 50 on Billboard R&B Songs chart. "Erykah was one of the first female artists to reach out to me. It was when I had my first EP out and not a lot of people knew about [me]," she told NPR. " 'Q.U.E.E.N' was really inspired by private conversations that she and I have about our community"

"How we can uplift them, and how we deal with those who feel marginalized and don't often have people standing up for their rights - whether that be gays, lesbians, immigrants. Women are often marginalized and we wanted to show that two strong women can work together and create something great."

Earning a notable spot in music due to her expertise in crafting good songs is not the only achievement she has accomplished. Her distinct sense of fashion shown through her signature sleek tuxedo outfit and immaculately coiffed hairdo has also led her to being named the 2012 CoverGirl spokesperson.

Monae recently performed at New York Fashion Week. "Art, fashion and music are all one. With my style I try to be consistent and classic. I feel as though I'm a time traveler, so I like to dress appropriate at all times. I think labels are boring," she gushed.

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